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Flower Power

by Marissa Wu

Photo Courtesy of Facebook (Rouvalis Flowers and Gardens)

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”

Claude Monet, the celebrated French impressionist painter, may have been on to something. Something about flowers gives them an aura of joy and happiness, hope bursting forth with life after winter.

As the magnolia trees begin to blossom and the sunlight lingers for longer, spring really seems to be, well, springing. And, what better way to celebrate than by buying yourself or someone you love a blooming bouquet from one of Boston’s many florists?

There’s a nice smattering of such locations, but the shops listed below are some favorites—each bringing their own charm and personality to the city. They range from venerated pillars in the community—owned by a family through generations—to newer pop-ups that pioneer a modern, sustainable system.

Stow Greenhouses

Situated in the Boston Public Market in the North End, Stow Greenhouses is owned by farmer-florist Barbara Rietscha. Her farm, Stow Greenhouses, grows all the flowers sold at the market, and there’s an emphasis on sustainability and locally-sourced blooms.

“People love flowers. It brings them joy. Some people feel like they need it for their soul, if you will, to bring a little beauty into your life,” Rietscha said. “One of my favorite things is educating people on the local flower movement, because 80 percent of our flowers in the USA come from outside the US. The whole farm-to-table movement (“Where are my vegetables from?”) is moving into “Where are my flowers from?”

Brattle Square Florists

Adjacent to the well-known Harvard Square is Brattle Square, a quieter little corner of Cambridge that escapes you if you’re not looking for it. You may stumble upon it if you get lost in the monstrous Harvard T station, but it’s for the better.

Pop up from the bus depot, and the exit deposits you almost exactly in front of this rustic, unassuming flower shop. Complete with a brick wall and modest prices, Brattle Square Florists, which has been around since 1917, is a favorite in the neighborhood.

“Because we’ve been in business for 100 years, we’re a florist of generations of families,” said owner Randy Ricker. “People have been coming here for four to five generations. We’ve done new baby to funeral. A lot of customers were from Cambridge, but overtime people from Boston and the suburbs all the way past 128 have started coming, and now we serve the whole area.”

Central Square Florists

Right next to the Central Square T stop, it’s impossible not to smile when you’re greeted by bunches of brightly hued tulips and carnations that grace the sidewalk outside of the storefront. While sparse in decor, the tiny shop makes up for in service and of course, their flowers, which are modestly priced and always cheerful.

Olympia Flower Store

This is Boston’s oldest flower shop. Owned by the same family for three generations, the shop was originally situated in Roxbury in Dudley Square, but moved to the South End. After a fire destroyed the building in 1949, the shop was rebuilt, and sits in that original framework today.

“Being a third-generation shop, we’ve done flowers for people’s weddings, then their children’s weddings, then flowers for births and funerals. When the fourth generation grows up, we’ll do graduations,” said Eileen Bornstein, the wife of co-owner Joe Bornstein. “We have lots of photos of how the South End used to look [before gentrification], and grandparents bring their grandchildren to the shop to show them what the neighborhood used to look like.”

Come for flowers, which are delivered fresh from the market daily; homemade cards, featuring scenes from the South End neighborhood; and a dose of nostalgia.

Rouvalis Flowers and Gardens

The charming neighborhood Beacon Hill is home an even more charming flower shop. Located on Cedar Street, which parallels the main strip of Charles Street, Rouvalis beckons all who stroll through the neighborhood to stop under its delightful, green and white striped awning and admire the blooms. Step inside and become enchanted by the vintage aesthetic, and perhaps purchase a bouquet. They’ll wrap it in endearing brown paper.

Part of the fun of summer is the smell of fresh flowers in the air. Bring in some good, warm-weather cheer by dropping by any of these great locations!

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